Robert Philips was a bank agent, and a lay member of Glasgow Art Club, to which he was admitted on 28 February 1887 (he resigned on 22 September 1899, rejoined on 3 July 1904 and resigned finally on 17 September 1912). He was among those Glasgow painters and architects who in 1891 appended their names to a list requesting that the Corporation of Glasgow buy JW's Arrangement in Grey and Black, No. 2: Portrait of Thomas Carlyle (YMSM 137) [#12326].
He lived at 4 and later 35 Westbourne Gardens, Glasgow.
Records of Glasgow Art Club.